Tag: Video Games

Let’s all go to Munchkinland

Welcome to “I put this off until late and decided to scrounge something together based on semi-recent activities as a last ditch effort” blog post #1738.

Trademarked.

Last night I spent St. Patrick’s Day in Fullerton celebrating with my friend Mimi and a few of her people. Even dragged my friend Juan out there with me, which was somewhat bizarre, but I would argue successful.

Bizarre mostly in that we’ve never really travelled outside of Redondo as a duo, that is. You can judge his personal eccentricities for yourself.

Oh and before you ask, I did not drink at the party. No Irish coffee for me.

Had to drive, and as Sonic Sez:

It was a small party with maybe eight people, and one that took up my entire evening with board games and video games and corned beef — hence my lack of a post yesterday.

Theoretically I could have written something before the party… But I got caught up with work meetings and getting homework done.

So sue me.

I figured you all would not be interested in the exciting adventures of leaving the gym early to go check on Grandpa after he fell out of his wheelchair. Especially since he’ll fine and will tell you he’s “impervious.” I believe it.

Instead, I think it might be fun to focus on a little game we played at last night’s called Munchkin.

800px-Munchkin_card_game_being_played_,_March_2014
I took no pictures, so you’ll have to deal with a few stock images.

For those of you who only know Munchkins as delicious donut holes from Dunkin’ Donuts (Not an ad? But could be an ad), I’ll lay down the groundwork.

Munchkins the board game was developed by Steve Jackson Games and is, for all intents and purposes, a parody of Dungeons and Dragons. Players travel through a dungeon, collect treasure and class/race/gender changes and advance (mostly) by killing monsters like Lawyers and [Inter]Net Trolls.

Munchkin
An example of some of the equipment players can utilize.

It’s a game where players can ask one another for help or screw each other over, which becomes an ocean of mind games once one player is poised to win and the rest stack curses and debuffs during their combat.

It’s a game which apparently has been around since 2001? Which is kind of insane to me.

This stupid game is as old as my little sister.

And only about half as stupid as her, am I right? *Insert Rimshot here*

*Insert inevitable slap upside the head for that comment here*

Jokes aside, the more I look into this game the more I’m generally impressed by it. There are nearly 200 products, playmats like in Yu-Gi-Oh! and. So many icons.

 

 

The fact that I’ve never heard of this game until yesterday is kind of astounding.

Though, to be fair, my board gaming experience didn’t go much further than Monopoly and Cards Against Humanity until my Gaming in American Culture class started.

That all said, I suppose this post has kind of turned into a bit of an endorsement for the game? It’s not an ad, but it could be an ad. Because I would certainly recommend it for people looking to play something engaging with a bunch of friends.

munchkin2
Counters from the game.

I’m not joking when I say things get intense by the end.

I absolutely would have won my game if Mimi didn’t sweep the victory one rotation before my turn. And I’m still mad about it.

Plus, the game fits well into my recent dives into D&D creatures for my novel. It’s just the kind of thing that’s up my alley.

So take my enthusiasm with a grain of salt. Or with a pile of soft, sugary donut holes.

Your choice.


Images courtesy of Bobbyfinger and Pegasus Spiele via Wikimedia Commons

Sacred Stones and The Dropout

Sacred Stones and The Dropout

Once again, a large portion of my day has been spent doing homework between a rock and a hard place.

I was feeling pretty lazy and had no desire to do work… But my weekend plans did not allow for procrastination.

Yesterday was the CBS Broadcast Center tour.

Tomorrow I have a St. Patrick’s Day party to attend over in Fullerton.

Both of which are great social things to do, so I cannot complain. However, my first paper for Gaming in American Culture is due tomorrow, so that became an assignment I was unable to push-off.

Luckily, in spite of my complaints about overwriting the other day, I was finally able to focus and cut the paper down. It’s now six pages exactly, with a bibliography and citations in Chicago Style — something I’ve never used before.

Long ago I wrote about my turmoil trying to decide what video game I should write about for this paper series.

That impossible choice wound up landing on Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, my favorite game in the turn-based tactical RPG. So far it has been a great one, as I’ve had a ton of fun analyzing how Sacred Stones is arguably one of the most replayable games in the series due to its unit variety, random stat distributions, intentionally restrictive player choice options, multiple pathways and Permadeath concessions.

All wrapped up in a polished, 32-bit handheld bow that I adore.

Perhaps when all three parts of the paper are finished, I’ll try to compile everything and post it on the old blog here. Seems like something that would fit.

I’ve also spent time working on my essay for Cognitive Psychology, which involves analyzing a study that corresponds with the presentation I gave in-class last Thursday.

While the paper was easy to pull together, having a 3-page maximum limit, I’m still kind of struggling with the finishing details because of how confusing the professor has made certain instructions.

Though I’ve talked about that before, so I won’t bore you here.

Something that has helped me work through all of this essay writing is a brand new investigative reporting podcast I recently discovered called: The Dropout.

Helmed by Rebecca Jarvis, the Chief Business, Technology & Economics Correspondent for ABC News, this podcast discusses the rise and fall of a company called Theranos and its female CEO Elizabeth Holmes — which basically defrauded millions of dollars from investors in promising a miracle medical test, also putting millions of people at risk.

Sounds like an ad, I know. But it’s not an ad.

Though… It could be an ad?

Hit me up, Rebecca. I’m sure you’re dying for these 10+ views/day.

Seriously though, it’s a fascinating story. I’m about three episodes deep and really looking forward to finishing the rest during my next couple commutes.

It’s another great addition to my growing collection of one-shot journalistic podcasts. Joining the ranks of Dirty John and The Butterfly Effect.

Because I could listen to Nando and DJ discuss movies on Mostly Nitpicking or Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman discuss celebrity news on Hollywood Babble-On for hours. But sometimes the real, raw journalism is far more of a fascinating subject to absorb.


Featured Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Unraveling more YouTube recommendations

Unraveling more YouTube recommendations

You can spin this blog post today one of two ways.

Perhaps this is a public service for all of those affected by the over 10-hour Facebook outages that affected the social media platform and its company’s holdings (including Instagram and WhatsApp) for some reason other than a denial-of-service attack — an issue which they, in my opinion, hilariously had to go to another platform to report:

Those folks addicted to these apps like I sometimes become with Twitter are likely looking for something interesting to do to bide their time.

Interesting, time-wasting YouTube channels happen to be my area of expertise.

… Or, perhaps this post is a futile effort to write something on my blog daily, after a day of two-hour Comm Law exams and finishing my listen to Ender’s Game while at the gym where I could not come up with anything better than yesterday despite saying I would. But in place of that interesting subject matter, I’ve simply decided to guise my lazy alternative in the guise of the solution to a social media-driven turmoil that has long ended by the time I began writing; all due to the aforementioned requirements.

But I think we all know which is the true answer to the question.

That said, I’ve delayed the inevitable long enough.

While my parents travelled around California going to different doctor’s appointments on Monday, I was in charge of my sister back home. We more-or-less spent the afternoon sitting beside one another on the couch doing homework and watching YouTube videos.

Among the usual line-up of Game Grumps and Super Beard Bros. videos taking up time, we were recommended a strange looking think piece on the “Sonic the Hedgehog Bible.”

That’s the kind of offer we couldn’t refuse.

So we didn’t.

And thus we discovered the magic that is Unraveled: A show by the gaming news website Polygon, helmed by their video producer Brian David Gilbert.

As someone who appreciates few things more than highly-analytical, well-produced and funny content deeply examining video games, this YouTube series earns my highest recommendation.

The show, in essence, takes huge amounts of data and information from the video games themselves or from real-world (often governmental) organizations that can be used for video game applications and just distills them down into quippy 15-minute binges that use massive amounts of paper for on-the-wall diagrams with rarely an apology.

It’s a beautiful sight to behold.

While we started with their Sonic Bible episode, I was also a big fan of his dive into madness on the Legend of Zelda timeline, breakdown of hundreds of Mega Man Robot Masters and look at how Bowser’s army would be organized in relation to the U.S. Army.

An oddly prescient piece considering Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aimé announced his retirement just a few days after it dropped, leaving it in the hands of a man literally named Bowser.

I won’t say I’m much for conspiracy theories… But the truth is out there.

Anyway, yeah. That’s my recommendation for the night.

If a YouTube show can get my sister of all people excited to watch deep-diving video game content, you know it has to be good.

So give Unraveled a look, if you would.


Featured Image courtesy of Gaurav Shakya via Wikimedia Commons

Ten-dollars worth of nihilism

Ten-dollars worth of nihilism

As I battle the unholy combination of impulsively long writing and too much content in the form of video game mechanics and aesthetics for my first Gaming in American Culture paper, it’s about time for a break.

Because my 4-6 page restriction has long since been surpassed by a 10-page first draft, and I’m electing to take advantage of the Sunday deadline’s opportunity for procrastination.

Instead, why not write a blog post?

In lieu of something substantial (as I have spent my afternoon writing about video games and listening to Ender’s Game), I figure why not take advantage of the Cognitive Psychology student presentation I watched during class this morning?

As I’ve briefly discussed in the past, our main grade outside of exams in Cog Psych are coming from presentations we have to give on a professional study which will become the subject of our research papers.

The presentation given today was about the spacing effect: In which we memorize better by spacing out information rehearsal over long periods of time than with condensed study.

To show us how this worked, the group’s activity involved learning obscure vocabulary terms intersperced by periods of rest and cat videos.

If you know me at all by now, you know that I can’t let a particularly interesting vocabulary word slip by without making a “ten-dollar word of the day” post.

Thus, I present to you:


Nihilarian

Noun

  1. A person who deals with things lacking importance.

via the Collins Dictionary


As a long-time user of nihilism, both in my vocabulary and philosophical musings (particularly fun with YouTube dives into popular culture), I was quite interested to learn a new word with a similar root.

It’s a simple but poignant term. Nihil-, the Latin word for nothingness, mixed with the suffix of different jobs — reminiscent of words like librarian, technician, etc.

While the word was used to help us learn a facet of psychology, my introduction to nihilarian engaged an entirely different part of my brain.

Now I’m going to look for any excuse to use the phrase to describe a character in my novel. Because the Honors Project is such a hodgepodge of influences from my daily experiences that I may as well.

Perhaps it could apply to one of my new mantis people.

See, I very recently had the drive to include a race of praying mantis-like characters. The idea came serendipitously in a dream I had last night — which I suppose is the kind of intuition I’m listening to now.

Next thing you know I’ll be a full-blown spiritualist.

They may be Thri-kreen, a la my similar inclusion of Aarakocra bird people from Dungeons and Dragons lore (because literally everything exists in D&D apparently, and my friend Sam is great at pointing out the obscure bits).

Or they may be something more humanoid of my own creation, considering how uncomfortable I am with full-on bug people after seeing the D&D depiction.

Thri-kreen2
Image courtest of the Forgotten Realms Wiki.

Either way, mantis folk are coming. And one of them will likely deal with things lacking importance.


Image courtesy of Woolchan via Wikimedia Commons

Media re-consumption

Media re-consumption

Everyone always talks about the book being better than the movie.

But where do most people stand on the audio book compared to the book?

That’s pretty much what I’m going to be sussing out for myself in the next couple days as I listen to the Orson Scott Card classic Ender’s Game on Audible.

Not an ad for Audible, but could be an ad for Audible?

Hit me up, Audible. I could stand to listen to more books and it might help if I had extra motivation.

Anyway though. I will be listening to Ender’s Game over the next few days.

I’ve actually read the book before, years ago — sometime just before or after I blew through my Dad’s big physical collection of the Hitchhiker’s Guide series (condensed into one publication).

I was having a hell of a space phase back in Middle School/early High School, apparently.

However, as a part of the curriculum for Gaming in American Culture, I must read the book again. Apparently it fits in well with the themes of video game use by the military, our discussion for this upcoming class.

As much as I enjoyed the book years ago, and certain scenes continue to stick in my head (mostly the bursts of graphic violence and groin kicking oddly enough), I don’t exactly have a lot of time to sit down and read ~350 pages in the span of three days.

Midterms have stolen that from me.

So I’m going to be listening to the story instead. Work it in during my drives in place of podcasts for a while.

I don’t listen to audio books too often, so it should be interesting to see how the experience lives up to my time with the original book. Will I retain more? Will I notice things that I never have before? Will I use that momentum to finally go ahead and listen to/read the sequel novels past the quarter of Ender’s Shadow I read back in the day?

And the most important question of them all:

Will the audio book be better than the movie?

Yes, yes it will.

Because most things are better than suffering through Harrison Ford phoning things in.

Even if the rest of the movie was pretty good around that, from what I remember.

Now, I know what you must all be thinking. “Jason, is this really the peak highlight from your day? The most worthwhile thing you can talk about?”

To that I say… Yes. Kind of.

If I were to be completely honest, the most interesting part of my day was watching huge groups of butterflies migrate across Redondo Beach, as well as the rest of Southern California apparently.

When I was picking up my sister from school, there were so many butterflies going around that I thought they were leaves at first.

It was nuts.

But I also don’t have a lot to say on it considering I didn’t take photos or videos of the phenomenon. So that LA Taco article will have to do.

Beyond that, all my time today has been devoted to the gym and homework. So… Yeah, disregarding butterflies, listening to the audio book for a book I have already read is the most interesting part of my day.

Purely due to the more philosophical questions I’ll be considering about the difference in media consumption over the next few days.

So hey, maybe I’ll come back to this topic at the end of the week.

Or even if I don’t, maybe I’ll have some more interesting blog topics from here on out!

We’ll just have to see.

Working hard? Or hardly working?

Working hard? Or hardly working?

In case any of you genuinely wanted that question answered, I can assure you that I have, in fact, been working hard.

Next week is my Comm Law midterm. A totally online exam, but one based on a class where the workload has been far larger and more time-consuming than I had expected going in.

The nicest thing about the exam is that my professor pretty much let us know it’s intended to be an open-note test — or at least she expects us to treat it as such. After all, most of it is going to be application of all the information we’ve learned rather than a definition-driven evaluation.

However, she added that she doesn’t want us to necessarily be flipping through our notebooks for the entire exam.

Because she knows just as well as we do that it can be a stressful experience.

Thus, to incentivize pre-studying we’ve been offered extra credit to create a single 8 1/2 x 11 cheat sheet, take a “selfie” with it (with as much creativity as we desire) and upload the picture to an online forum before taking the test.

My Featured Image of the day is that very selfie. Wearing my brand new Frog-in-a-Car T-shirt.

I figured what better way is there to represent myself than having a thick, detailed page of notes that I’m ignoring in lieu of some Tetris?

What’s that? You don’t believe that I have a full-page of detailed notes based on how far away it is in the perspective of the picture?

Well, you’re right.

Because it’s actually a front AND back page worth of detailed notes:

IMG_2262IMG_2261

The front side was a bit off-the-cuff when I first put it together, which is why it looks so left-end dominant.

I tried to fix that more on the back side. It helped that there were less diagrams and more Supreme Court precedents to simply list off as we moved farther into the semester.

Some of you might not find the clean, clinical and small font pencil-only approach beneficial to a study guide very helpful. Personally, I really like to pack in as much detail as I can.

In fact, I essentially shoved every detail I could onto this page to the point that I might not ever have to open up the first half of my Comm Law notebook ever again.

A notebook with ~150 pages worth of notes that I packed into one, at that.

IMG_2263
That’s a spicy-a notebook.

It may have taken me all afternoon to transfer all of this information over, but I’d say it was well worth it to have a condensed study aid tool.

Especially given that just the act of copying all of my written text a second time is as powerful a way to study as I can imagine.

That’s really all I’ve done today, so I figured the cheat sheet would make for as good a blog post as any. The project fits well enough into my narrative of enjoying the class as a whole that it seems appropriate.

I just wanted to end this off by giving an extra special shout-out to my photographer, Alyson. Because one good picture deserves another in return:

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Gotta love those post-SAT blues.

Definitely don’t miss those days.

A Heroes post bound by obligation. And darkness.

A Heroes post bound by obligation. And darkness.

Alright, I put off writing this introduction because I have had no idea what to say for the Beyond Darkness banner.

But it’s 1:30 a.m. or so and I just need to come up with something.

So here’s my something:

Star Trek: Into Beyond Darkness.

Let’s talk about some Binding Blade.


LughAnima Child

  • Gronnserpent (Might = 12, Range = 2)
    • If foe initiates combat and uses bow, dagger, magic or staff, grants Defense and Resistance +6 during combat.
  • Rally Up Resistance (Range = 1)
    • Grants Resistance +6 to target ally and allies within two spaces of target (excluding unit) for one turn.
  • Mirror Stance (A Skill)
    • If foe initiates combat, grants Attack and Resistance +4 during combat.
  • Attack Feint (B Skill)
    • If a Rally Assist skill is used by or targets unit, inflicts Attack +7 on foes in cardinal directions of unit through their next actions.

SueDoe of the Plains

  • Short Bow (Might = 12, Range = 2)
    • Effective against flying foes. Deals +10 damage when Special Attack triggers.
  • Moonbow (Cooldown = 2)
    • Treats foe’s Defense or Resistance as if reduced by 30 percent during combat.
  • Swift Sparrow (A Skill)
    • If unit initiates combat, grants Attack and Speed +4 during combat.
  • Chill Defense (B Skill)
    • At the start of the turn, inflicts Defense -7 on foe with the highest Defense through its next action.
  • Hone Speed 4 (C Skill)
    • At the start of the turn, grants Speed +7 to adjacent allies for one turn.

TheaStormy Flier

  • Vanguard (Might = 14, Range = 1)
    • If foe initiates combat, grants Defense +7 during combat.
  • Ignis (Cooldown = 4)
    • Boosts damage by 80 percent of unit’s Defense.
  • Steady Posture (A Skill)
    • If foe initiates combat, grants Speed and Defense +4 during combat.
  • Seal Speed/Defense (B Skill)
    • Inflicts Speed and Defense -5 on foe through its next action after combat.

IdunnDark Priestess

  • Demonic Breath (Might = 16, Range = 1)
    • Grants Defense +3. Effective against armored foes. At start of combat, if a negative status effect is active on unit, or if unit’s Health < 100 percent, neutralizes penalties on unit and grants Attack, Speed, Defense and Resistance +4 during combat. If foe’s Range = 2, calculates damage using the lower defensive stat.
  • Bonfire (Cooldown = 3)
    • Boosts damage by 50 percent of unit’s Defense.
  • Fortify Defense/Resistance (A Skill)
    • Grants Defense and Resistance +6. Inflicts Attack -2.
  • Vengeful Fighter (B Skill)
    • If unit’s Health ≥ 50 percent and foe initiates combat, grants Special Attack cooldown charge +1 per unit’s attack, and unit makes a guaranteed follow-up attack (does not stack).
  • Ward Dragons (C Skill)
    • Grants Defense and Resistance +4 to dragon allies within two spaces during combat.

My apprehension to talk about this banner is two-fold.

First comes from the fact that I have not played the Binding Blade, and thus have no real connection to the characters.

Outside of knowing Lugh is Nino’s daughter — but I only care because she is one of my favorite Heroes units.

Second is the fact that this banner feels like a callback to the more simple units of old, which is admittedly nice after seeing so many with weapon descriptions longer than my novel.

However, Lugh and Thea basically have nothing special to talk about.

Sue similarly isn’t impressive, but only because she’s Brave Lyn lite.

Cavalry archer. Swift Sparrow. “Smoke” B Skill. ‘Nuff said.

Idunn is the only unit I would consider worth wasting orbs on. She is a powerful, red armored manakete with a weapon that counters all the Hectors and Surtrs of the world.

She also has very cute artwork.

What can I say, I’m a sucker for heterochromia. I’ll have to see about adding a character with that into my story…

While Idunn is neat, she unfortunately is not neater than Halloween Myrrh.

So I’m not going to throw a whole lot of orbs into this banner beyond supplementing the free summon tickets from Forging Bonds.

Naturally, that means the story missions are a big ol’ orb repository!


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Book III, Chapter 5 begins an indiscriminate amount of time after Chapter 4, where King Gustav of Askr is killed by Hel.

The royal family mourns. I II II I_.

When Alfonse asks why Gustav wanted to pass along a ratty tree branch, his mother reveals that it was the play sword three-year-old Alfonse used to tell his father he was going to help defend their nation.

Real generic “you were prepared to lead all along” development beats.

Then we find out that as a result of Gustav’s death:

So the Order of Heroes, “built for small-scale operations,” decides to use the break in the war to take the fight to Hel.

Alfonse and Sharena were unable to figure out a trick to defeat her in royal archives, thus Alfonse figures they could scout her domain.

From there, the missions shift to simple character introductions.

The most interesting thing here comes when one map features an enemy pegasus archer — the first time a unit of that type has shown up.

I’m hoping we get a cool pegasus archer soon as a result.

As the Order reaches the entrance to Hel, now-fell King Gustav is sent to fight his children. Eir regards the act as particularly “cruel,” even for her mother.

I mostly found it surprising.

Not in that Gustav comes back to fight his children — that shit was obvious weeks ago. I’m simply surprised that they blew that plot point so early!

I am also admittedly surprised that they play Gustav as a character who keeps his sentience despite being physically commanded by Hel.

Naturally it’s all done so he can encourage Alfonse to be strong and kill him. Also closure:

Yet I had expected him to be a mindless, evil zombie.

So good on you for the surprise, Intelligent Systems.

From there, the Order of Heroes prepares to dive into Hel. Cut to black. See you next banner.


This FEH post feels a bit low-energy, don’t you think?

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m writing it into the wee hours of the morning, or if I simply could not care less about the characters… But either way, not my strongest.

It is one of my shortest, however. So I’ll happily accept that.

Maybe I’ll pivot my usual fever into my Gaming in American Culture class essay all about Sacred Stones, as I finally made up my mind for that.

Who knows, it could inspire IS to finally give us some new units from the game.

That said let me know what you think of this Binding Blade banner! Are you more excited than I am? More jaded? I’m quite interested to know.

Messin’ with the curriculum vitae

Messin’ with the curriculum vitae

While people on my social media the night I’m writing this are probably annoyed that I’m trying to double dip on the love for my recent award, this blog post is more about creating something to show my children in 30 years.

A rather grandiose fantasy that, in execution, will make my reference to a small social media post in 2019 superfluous. If you weren’t already questioning the slight absurdity of my future self’s apparent decision to show the children whom I may or may not even have by 2049 — while Replicants are running wild — a blog post about an award I won rather than showing off the physical award.

Though that’s all a little too absurdely analytical for what is essentially a self-congratulatory post.

This afternoon I discovered that the story I wrote with Jennifer Garcia about restaurant health inspections around Cal State Fullerton won first place in the “Non-Breaking News Story” category for schools with 10,000+ students at this year’s California College Media Association Awards.

IMG_2229

Wow!

That’s a mouthful!

Because this was the big enterprise piece I co-wrote for Comm 471, featuring the interactive map I was incredibly proud of creating, I’m very happy to see it get the recognition it deserves — he said post-receiving the award.

This is actually the second year in a row I’ve had the pleasure of receiving an award from the CCMA ceremony, though I wasn’t invited to the event this year. Nor did I find out from the DT staff in attendance on March 2.

Which is odd, but I’m willing to chalk it up to being disconnected from the team running the paper right now.

When I loaded up the ol’ résumé to update it with a brand new award, I discovered there were a few other places left unfurnished on my October 2018 draft.

For instance, some actually substantial information on the kinds of things I’ve gotten to do as the SPJ Secretary at Cal State Fullerton:

Screen Shot 2019-03-07 at 10.28.59 PM

Might also add that my name was included in a published editorial through the Daily Titan, but I haven’t quite decided on that yet.

More importantly, I finally added in a brand new section for event planner, as I have been not-so-subtly teasing my intension to do in recent posts.

Screen Shot 2019-03-07 at 9.25.36 PM.png

The Honors Program secretary also sent out our advertisement poster the other day, so I can officially share that sweet piece of digital paper:

Network Panel

I’ll be throwing this puppy out on my social media sometime soon.

Though, again, that won’t matter to anyone reading this 30 years down the line. So…

Yeah.

That’s pretty much been the positive vibe of my day in a nutshell. While I was stuck at school all day for classes and meetings, I found out that I won a pretty huge award! Plus, I made some other kid’s day when he saw my Master Sword umbrella and very loudly exclaimed, “I fucking love college.”

Quite reminiscent of me during Freshman or Sophomore year seeing some kid walk around with the Pokéwalker peripheral from Pokémon Heartgold and Soulsilver.

Oh, and on top of that, we also played old text adventure games in my gaming class:

IMG_2230
Colossal Cave Adventure!

All-and-all, not too much to complain about.


Technically I do actually have something to complain about in a post-post aside.

I’ve been a bit extra spotty on my “daily” blog writing lately, and I just wanted to address that as a result of school really kicking my ass between midterms, honors project writing and internship junk.

Hopefully it’ll pick up again with this weekend hosting a new Fire Emblem banner and my trip to the cinema for Captain Marvel, but if it doesn’t I’ll apologize in advance here.

Rainy day jazz in Santa Barbara

Rainy day jazz in Santa Barbara

At this point it feels like I’m collecting California high school visits for a checklist.

Once again my day has been spent journeying to watch my sister perform with the Redondo Union High School jazz band.

The destination? Dos Pueblos High School in Santa Barbara.

The event? The 50th annual “Jazz in Paradise” Jazz Festival.

Luckily hosted indoors, as it rained hard all morning on our way up north. None of those outdoor venues like the marching band competitions get.

While I appreciate any and all opportunities to break out my Master Sword umbrella (and boy has it gotten work this rainy season), I was more appreciative that we could hide instead.

Especially with such a nice auditorium to hide in:

IMG_2200

The beige whites, wooden trim and striped-blue decor gave the Elings Performing Arts Center a nautical harbor vibe that felt like home, even though home was a good few hours away.

I was also a fan of the music, even if I can’t speak to why quite as well as I can for a visual aesthetic.

That’s frankly my biggest problem with these events. While I can’t say I’m the biggest jazz listener in the world, I typically enjoy what I get to hear at the competitions. I just don’t have near enough musical knowledge to be able to tell people why — and usually those who can will tell me how awful a band was despite my thinking they sounded as good as the rest.

The one thing I can point to is Santa Ynez, who really impressed me in particular by utilizing a violin in their set.

After a while, the performances across different events do start to sound similar, so shaking that up was nice.

Plus I’ve found that I’m actually a huge fan of taking more “classical” instruments like the violin and using them in unique, more modern settings. Been noticing that a lot more in different soundtracks I’ve listened to for games and such.

But beyond that, hopefully you aren’t here for deep diving musical analyses.

All I can really provide are these screenshots and videos to help you feel like you were there.

For instance, here’s Aly and RUHS’s Jazz Band A performing “Barnburner” by Les Hooper:

I know I say it a lot, but I am quite proud of how good she is at this stuff. So much so that she recently got accepted into a rather prestigious-sounding summer program in New York.

Then again, I also make fun of her falling off video games whenever I can, since I know she loves that a whole lot.

But recently I found a good game to get her into solo play with Kirby’s Adventure on the Nintendo Switch online NES game compilation. Thus I can’t really make fun of her.

… Though I will pester her about finishing Let’s Go Eevee with me again. Especially now that Sword and Shield are coming soon.

Oh- By the way, RUHS won first place in the advanced bands with their set.

As well as smaller awards for having the best saxophone and rhythm sections.

Then they won best overall band score, on top of one of their musicians winning best solo performance of the night.

AND Aly got an outstanding soloist certificate for the advanced division.

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In other words, they swept the floor.

This event in particular also stood out because after the awards there was a concert featuring Wayne Bergeron — who has apparently worked on things like the soundtrack to Pixar’s The Incredibles.

That’s pretty cool!

Unfortunately my parents and I did not stick around for that part. We went hard from 9:00 a.m. until the end of the awards at about 6:30 p.m., plus the drive home after. So we were beat down.

Especially me after an unexpected nosebleed in the middle of the performances.

Wound up scrubbing my hands of spots like Lady Macbeth as people came in and out of the bathroom.

Never had that particular flavor of “unintentionally embarrassing myself in a public venue” before. It was fun.

Just like it was fun when my family and I went to Chili’s in the rain while waiting for the festival to start.

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Hi, welcome to Chili’s

A fact that I only bring up so I can finally reference an ancient Vine in some attempt to appear relevant and hip with the kids.

Because that feels like the most appropriate way to end off a blog post all about Jazz.

Roy’s our boy

Roy’s our boy

So I don’t have much of a connection to Roy outside of Super Smash Bros.

Beyond mentioning that his cool Legendary alternate resembles his Smash counterpart, I didn’t have anything considerably flashy to lead this post off with.

That is, until I discovered this introduction page for the character featuring drawings from Princess Sharena.

I just had to share it. Because wow.

If that ain’t the cutest thing I’ve ever seen, I don’t know what is.


RoyBlazing Lion

  • Dragonbind (Might = 16, Range = 1)
    • Effective against dragon foes. Unit can counterattack regardless of foe’s range.
  • Dragon Fang (Cooldown = 4)
    • Boosts damage by 50 percent of unit’s Attack.
  • Bonus Doubler (A Skill)
    • Grants bonus to Attack, Speed, Defense and Resistance during combat = current bonus on each of unit’s stats independently.
  • Renewal (B Skill)
    • At the start of every second turn, restored 10 Health.
  • Human Virtue (C Skill)
    • At the start of the turn, if unit is adjacent to any allies that are not beast or dragon allies, grants Attack and Speed +6 to unit and those allies for one turn.

Here I thought Legendary Marth was the dragon slayer!!

Joking aside, I would actually still consider Marth to be a better dragon slayer. His Exalted Falchion and Binding Shield seriously neuter manaketes.

Roy’s special Human Virtue skill is more focused on changing what team you utilize than it is killing.

However that doesn’t mean Roy’s new Dragonbind sword isn’t inherently broken. It’s a power-crept Falchion with distant counter built-in for Christ’s sake.

Dragons can’t attack from a distance, but the sword gives him duel functionality in killing dragons and countering mages/archers. A true double whammy.

That said… His sword is the one thing that truly sparkles about our boy Roy, in my opinion. The ability to give out doubled buffs to non-beasts is nice, but not particularly special in an era of growing beast representation.

Unfortunately, that ambivalence toward Roy extends to his entourage as well.

Also featured on this banner are:

The only units I’m missing here are Legendary Hríd, Halloween Niles and the three Adrift units.

While the first two are units I would like to have… I could care less about the two Corrin alts and Mikoto. So if Roy is one of three units on this whole banner I’m interested in summoning, it really does not seem like my kind of banner.

Though I suppose there is an extra allure to Roy’s potential for growth.

Apparently Intelligent Systems is planning on introducing a new mechanic for all upcoming Legendary Heroes in April that will “provide a play experience that is slightly different from what players are accustomed to.”

Whatever that means.

I can’t tell you whether or not it will be worth summoning Roy to get that vague future benefit, so it’s really up to you how much value is ascribed to intrigue about upcoming events.

For my money, I still won’t be trying to summon Roy too eagerly. I fruitlessly wasted a ton of orbs on the Fates beast banner.

Thus, for me, he will simply serve as a hilarious bit of ironic text in that Legendary Battle Map:

“Humans and dragons should coexist peacefully,” said the man with a dragon-killing sword and an ability that is neutered by teaming up with dragons.

Nice ludonarrative dissonance, Intelligent Systems.


Usually I aim to get these Fire Emblem Heroes posts published the day when banners are released.

However, Pokémon Sword and Shield sucked the oxygen out of the room yesterday and I had to live tweet our SPJ meeting last night.

Was pretty tired after a 6:00 a.m. to 12 a.m. kind of day.

So I figured I could hold off writing about the Legendary Banner until today, when I have nothing going on. It lasts about a week after all.

You know the deal by now. Let me know what you think of Mr. Dragon Slayer — Master of human/dragon unification. Or let me know who else you want to see in the future.